The Big Whistle for the Commonwealth Games - what it is and how you can take part

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Brindleyplace florist on a mission to get thousands of people to whistle in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - inspired by London Olympics All the Bells in 2012

A Birmingham florist is launching his campaign to persuade thousands of people to whistle-in the launch of the Commonwealth Games in the city on the opening day of the championships.

Mark Gribben, who owns Ethos Flowers at Brindleyplace on Westside, has a dream for what he has called The Big Whistle to take place at 2.22pm on Thursday 28 July.

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Organisers have already procured more than 500 whistles from J Hudson & Co (Acme Whistles) Limited, which will be used at both the launch and main event, and hope that many more will be brought along by the public.

Mark has already signed up the Brindleyplace team and Westside BID to help him make his dream a reality, and popular radio DJ Ed James has agreed to lead the whistling.

The Big Whistle idea is being officially launched at 12.30pm on Thursday 30 July in the Central Square of Brindleyplace. It is hoped that more local businesses and individuals will get behind the project.

Mark Gribben of Ethos Flowers launches The Big Whistle for the Commonwealth GamesMark Gribben of Ethos Flowers launches The Big Whistle for the Commonwealth Games
Mark Gribben of Ethos Flowers launches The Big Whistle for the Commonwealth Games | Westside BID

Why is Mark launching The Big Whistle?

Mark, who set up Ethos Flowers 22 years ago, said: “The aim of The Big Whistle is to encourage the people of Birmingham, the UK and the wider Commonwealth, to come together at 2.22pm on 28 July 2022 for a ‘good old whistle’.

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“Reflecting the inclusivity of the Commonwealth Games, The Big Whistle 2022 is an inclusive event, enabling people of all ages and abilities to get involved to help see in this momentous occasion.”

Where did The Big Whistle idea come from and was there anything like it at the London Olympics in 2012?

Mark explained that his idea was inspired by the success of ‘All the Bells’ which celebrated the start of the London Olympics in 2012, when Big Ben rang out for three minutes along with bells nationwide.

The Big Whistle is honouring Birmingham’s rich history of whistles, which started with local toolmaker Joseph Hudson in the late 19th century who became the largest manufacturer of whistles in the world.

Mark added: “We’re keen for everyone in and around Westside – businesses, workers, residents and the general public – plus the local media to attend our launch at 12.30pm this Thursday, 30 June, to help raise awareness of The Big Whistle that will take place on 28 July.

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“We want as many people as possible to help us gain momentum via social media, encouraging schools, families and community groups to get involved.”

What have other people supporting The Big Whistle said about the idea?

Matt Long, head of tenant engagement and placemaking at Brindleyplace, said: “Mark has come up with a fantastic idea to help us all welcome and celebrate the start of the Commonwealth Games here in Birmingham.

“This will be an inclusive and authentic way to help bring the Games to life and let the world know we are a city ready to welcome everyone this summer.”

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Brindleyplace, BirminghamBrindleyplace, Birmingham
Brindleyplace, Birmingham | Shutterstock

Key dates and facts

Launch: The launch of The Big Whistle project is at 12.30pm on Thursday 30 Ju in Central Square, Brindleyplace. The square will be dressed up with a huge countdown clock and #TheBigWhistle2022 signage, and whistles will be available. And there may be a special guest present…

The Big Whistle: The actual moment for The Big Whistle marking the opening of the Commonwealth Games is 2.22pm on Thursday 28 July in Central Square, Brindleyplace, when there will be food stalls and festive jazz music to celebrate the event. Plus hundreds more whistles!

If you are keen to take part in the event, contact Paul Ensor or Kay Cadman at Core marketing via [email protected] and [email protected].

Businesses on Brindleyplace can get more information from Matt Long via [email protected].

A message from the editor:

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